BEREA, Ohio — One of the story lines for the Battle of Ohio this week would be if Colt McCoy returns as the quarterback.
Other than that, from the Browns standpoint, there’s not a lot to look for in this game between the 2-11 Bengals and the 5-8 Browns.
Eric Mangini said that McCoy looked good in practiced last Friday, his first day back, and in pregame warm-ups against Buffalo. McCoy was the third quarterback in the Bills game.
Mangini said McCoy will get most of the work with the first team on Wednesday and barring setbacks, should be ready for Sunday.
“Colt will get more work this week and we’ll see where he is (Wednesday),” Mangini said. “He practiced a day last week. I thought he did really well last Friday. I don’t expect any limitations on him, but we’ll have to see.”
Mangini, again, wouldn’t commit to McCoy, but deferred until Thursday.
“(McCoy) doesn’t have the limitations, but it will be how he looks and how he feels Thursday.”
McCoy came into the locker room during the media time dressed in camouflaged bib overalls, looking as though he came right out of a deer blind. He was walking without a limp.
“I wish I was (in a blind),” he said laughing.
McCoy is scheduled to speak to reporters Thursday.
The playbook continually expanded in McCoy’s five games as the starter and Mangini said he expects him to pick up where he left off. McCoy was 81-for-127 passing for 975 yards (63.8 completion percentage) with three touchdowns and three interceptions. He had a quarterback rating of 85.3, compared to Jake Delhomme with a 63.4, who has two touchdowns and seven interceptions.
“What I’ve seen is (McCoy’s) able to put a lot of things in the bank and build on it,” Mangini said. “He’s very diligent in his preparation and routine and the work he has done with Jake (Delhomme), Brian (Daboll) and Carl (Smith) have done with him has been very solid for a first year guy.”
Being out of the playoff picture, Mangini said he doesn’t believe in playing someone just for the future.
“Every time we have an opportunity to practice, it’s building for the future,” Mangini said. “With the injuries we’ve had, some of our young guys have had opportunities and it’s up to them to seize that.”
Ryan Fitzpatrick’s scrambling hurt the Browns last week and McCoy or Seneca Wallace bring that element to the Browns that Delhomme hasn’t been able to.
“There are problems that are presented by (scrambling),” Mangini said. “That’s a good thing.”
Mangini defended Delhomme’s play against the Bills last week, despite putting up a 49.2 rating.
“Last week, I thought Jake got us into some good checks,” he said. “Everybody has a big role in the offense, whether it’s protection, the receivers getting open. All of those things working together generates overall successful play.”
Delhomme said the quarterback position usually ends up with the responsibility.
“I think you have to as the quarterback,” he said. “If you don’t, you’re being naive. If you don’t score points and win, you’re not getting the job done. I didn’t do enough to get our team in the end zone and win.”
Delhomme said he’s not sure what Mangini will decide.
“I’m not sure what will happen,” he said. “I’ll go with the flow, sure I want to start. If you don’t want to start, there’s something wrong.”
Delhomme reiterated what he said a few weeks ago, that if McCoy is the starter he won’t cause problems.
“I know Colt is battling to get back healthy,” Delhomme said. “I can only control what I can and whatever happens from that point on you don’t rock the boat. That is how I was brought up and that’s how I was raised and that’s how it is in the NFL.”
McCoy’s play has caught the eye of Bengals’ coach Marvin Lewis.
“I don’t know of too many rookie quarterbacks who make their first start against the Steelers,” Lewis said. “He makes quick decisions and is well coached and when (players from Texas) come (to the NFL), they’re ready to play.”
Mangini was asked who would be the number three quarterback if McCoy starts.
“We’ll worry about number one and then there are a number of things you’d get from the two spot,” he said. “We’ll talk about it with Brian (Daboll)and Carl (Smith) and go from there.”
Fumblemania: On the Ground: Despite Peyton Hillis going over 1,000 yards, it was overshadowed by the fact he fumbled three times against Buffalo, despite losing just one.
Hillis said he will correct what he can and move on.
“That’s sometimes how the game goes,” he said. “You can’t play hesitant. It goes for every part of the team. You have good days and bad days.
“It’s out of mind the next day,” he said. “You can’t worry about it or it will affect you the next game.”
Hillis is among the NFL leaders in fumbles this season.
Mangini defended Hillis’ style of play.
“That’s not a statistic we want to lead in,” Mangini said. “Most of his fumbles come when he’s fighting for extra yards.
“He pushes the pile and that’s when the ball is most exposed. You love the way he plays that way. You want that same effort without the exposure. You have to have the balance.”
Hillis lost one of the balls when he was using his hurdle move over a defender.
“I have to be a little bit smarter about (hurdling).”
Ocho Down: Wide receiver Chad Ochocinco sounded unusually subdued on the conference call with the Cleveland media Wednesday.
“It’s been tough,” Ochocinco said. “I’m just trying to keep myself motivated and try to be the solution and not the problem.”
Ochocinco was asked if he wants to stay with the Bengals.
“It wears on you after 10 years,” he said. “I have no idea. I’m not the owner, so I don’t know who leaves and who stays. I just want to make sure I’m on top of my game.”
Lewis was asked why Ochocinco sounded down.
“I did a good job talking to him before you guys talked with him,” Lewis laughed.
Injury Update: Scott Fujita (knee), Evan Moore (hip),David Bowens (head) and Shaun Rogers (hip, ankle) will not practice Wednesday. Mangini did not mention Sheldon Brown (shoulder) and Titus Brown (head).
Mangini still sounds as though Fujita won’t play this week.
“He’s a lot closer and has really come along,” he said. “He has an outside chance, but don’t know if we’d do that.”
Cribbs All-Fundamentals Team: Joshua Cribbs was named to the 2010 USA Football/NFLPA All-Fundamental Team as a kick/punt returner.
The award is based on an ability to consistently execute the fundamentals of their positions and for making a positive impact in their communities
Francies Promoted: The Browns added Coye Francies to the active roster and waived Eric King. They also signed linebacker Eric Bakhtiari to the practice squad.
Francies was on the practice squad the last two weeks after being drafted by the Browns in the sixth-round of the 2009 NFL Draft. Also, offensive lineman Paul Fanaika was signed off of the Browns’ practice squad to the Seahawks’ active roster.